to spend $100,000,000, that is no reason why the soldiers should not receive consideration, nor why they should not receive a gratuity. The Government, it is true, can go to work and spend $1,500,000,000 a year; it can buy up railways; it can buy up electric light companies; it can start public ownership schemes that will involve millions every year and then hold this up and say: Oh, we cannot do anything for the returned soldier.
I want to refer to another item in the report, and that is the soldiers' land settlement scheme. The Land Settlement Board is a most excellently managed board. The members work hard; they have a very difficult task; but the problem put forward is this: They have to settle the soldier on the land. I cannot for the world see what increased production you can get out of changing the ownership of the land. The policy adopted throughout Canada is this. A soldier selects a piece of land that is occupied already by a farmer, possibly some old farmer who wants to leave and go to live in the town and talk " U. F. O." or some other kind of politics. This Government steps in and buys that land from the farmer, and the farmer goes and lives in a village or town, so that we have lost that man's production. We have not gained any more by the deal than we had before. We simply substitute one man for another. The manner in which the Government deals with these men is not as good as the Australian scheme. When a man takes up land under our Soldiers' Settlement Act, his wife can sell the eggs, but she cannot sell the chickens without the consent of the Government, and a man who owns a farm of that kind is a thousand times worse off than an Irish tenant. The manner in which that land should be given to the soldier is this. The land should be purchased, and it should be rented on a long-term lease to the soldier with the option on his part to purchase it at the end of the term. That is the system that is suggested in Australia, and it is a system that, I think, would appeal to every hon. member in this House. If the man does not succeed on the farm, and if he leaves it, the Government has the farm and can lease it to another soldier or sell it or do whatever it likes with it. As it is now, the man goes on to the land, and-he is tied up under sixteen hundred different regulations, so that he cannot sell his crop, or a chicken, or a cow, or anything else off that farm unless he gets the consent of the Government. If that is not paternalism gone mad, I do not know anything. That is the consideration the Government gives to the returned soldier, and it is no wonder that he growls.
The question was brought up in the House by the hon. member for Muskoka (Mr. Mc-Gibbon) with reference to those men who are in hospital under the demobilization scheme, who have left the military hospitals and who have gone over to the hospitals under the Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment Department. Those men went under the distinct promise that the pay of their rank would be given to them. And this committee goes to work, and simply on the suggestion of somebody they want' to cut the pay of the officers down to $60 a month.
The minister would not discuss with the House the various suggestions made as to how the money Could be raised, although the House, I think, would have liked to hear from the minister the suggested form of taxation discussed. The leader of the House is, I know, very deeply interested as a student of economics, and I hope he will follow the discussion along these lines.